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Tell me something good
Tell me that you love me, yeah

This Rufus & Chaka Khan song has been spinning through my head for days. Penned by Stevie Wonder, it’s not so much a funky love song to me, as it is a plea to our newly elected executive branch to stop worrying about a nuclear arms race. And rolling back civil rights, including where we can take a leak. Cause it’s not about bathrooms boys!

So here’s something good Bob and I have been planning for weeks now – a trip to the South of France. And it’s OK that the French are ratcheting up their own particular brand of politics, because I don’t plan on reading anything about their election. This trip will be purely hedonistic; we’ll be staying at a villa with a group of friends and a CHEF!  And we will be learning how to cook French food!

As some of you may know, Bob loves to travel. His parents carted him around the world as a child. I recently saw some early footage of 7 year old Bob lugging a gigantic pair of binoculars off a boat in the Caribbean. Plus, since we affirmed our Ancestry DNA I’ve realized that he has a strong nomadic gene that keeps his eyes searching for the horizon, or an oasis, or something… If he sits still for too long in one place, his biology may actually change! His fingers and toes start to tingle and off he goes!

Me, travel? Not so much. Maybe it’s my biology too? After all, the Irish always knew to “Pay the rent first” since their Protestant landlords could throw them off their farms at a moment’s notice. And then there’s my Year of Living Dangerously, which lead to my own nomadic existence. Driving back and forth across the Delaware Water Gap to visit the Flapper who was recuperating from the automobile accident. I had a paradoxical upbringing, filled with unconditional love from two very different families who tried to share me equally.

Instead of thriving on this NJ to PA cross-cultural-border parenting, I became an adult who preferred to stay at home with a nice cup of tea, or a glass of wine. I might have become agoraphobic if it wasn’t for the Flapper. She instilled in me a love for learning about other people, for listening to their stories. And there’s only so much one can learn from their own front porch.

We travel light, two carry-ons. And this time no children, or grandchildren, which is only the second time for us; we did that Viking cruise last year. I’ve heard that the first ten to fifteen years of retirement people travel quite a bit, and knowing Bob I had better be prepared with travel-size toiletries. I will keep a bag packed.

This morning i stumbled upon an article in the Travel section of BBC News, “50 Reasons to #LoveTheWorld.” Stunning photographs and insight into why (some) people love to travel. My reason might be “Because widening my experience of other cultures deepens my capacity for compassion.” It also helps me live in the NOW, since I love to leave lots of time unplanned to discover the unexpected.

http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20161122-50-reason-to-lovetheworld–2016-edition

But first I have to make a poster for the Town Hall we’ll be attending this weekend at the local high school. The one our GOP Rep Tom Garrett refuses to attend after hosting two cowardly Facebook meetings: “The Facebook event couldn’t really even be considered a town hall. It was more Tom Garrett reading pre-written statements into a camera. Constituents continually said that the Facebook event was insufficient and that they needed an in-person town hall where there could be an actual conversation between Tom Garrett and his constituents. Garrett ultimately refused to hold such an event, saying of his events during the congressional recess that ‘most will be online’”  http://bluevirginia.us/2017/02/tom-garrett-tried-avoid-constituents-holding-virtual-town-hall-facebook-not-go-well

Sorry for that bit of Bad News Garrett from the 5th Congressional District of the Old Dominion. On a lighter note, Ms Bean always wants to go outside to her slice of sun on the deck! Enjoy this beautiful Spring weather everyone.  ps, that’s a pomelo we didn’t pick from a tree, like we did in California (insert smile emoji). And it sits atop a French waxed tablecloth of lavender from the French West Indies.img_0125

Knots to You

Things are springing up around our little house. Crocus are about to bloom, daffodil leaves are reaching for the sun, and temperatures have been hovering around 70. No bugs or humidity yet; “This is what California is like all the time,” I said to Bob in my most ingratiating tone of voice.

When we were living in New England, this time of year was called “Mud Season.” Snow was melting and everyone coveted a “mud” room, a place to ditch your dirty clothes and hats and gloves and boots before entering your house. The rest of the country might call this a back porch. But Berkshire sentimentality aside, I love seeing bluebirds playing on my deck. Spying a Tiffany-blue breast makes me want to break out in song!

Bob breaks out the tractor and the gardening tools. For him, this is pruning season. When we built this house we picked out every tree and shrub, which means we now must keep them from enveloping us entirely. My French friend looked us up on Google earth and said we must live in a forest, and she’s right. Our tract of land demands constant vigilance! A herd of deer trim our most succulent new growth all winter, and now it’s time for Bob to play his part.

The viburnum, the hydrangeas, the crepe myrtles! No one is immune to Bob’s pruning shears, loppers and hedge trimmers.

Ms Bean must do her part too. She refuses to come in when all the gardening work begins. She offers up a tiny dead field mouse to our back door, while Bob shows me an abandoned bird’s nest at the front door. These “gifts” are received calmly, while I check to see if anyone has taken up residence in the bluebird houses Great Grandpa Hudson put up years ago. Anyone that is, besides the flying squirrel who scared me half to death with her bulging black eyes!

But usually I prefer more indoor activities. The National Men’s Indoor Tennis championships have been taking place at our gym, so exciting matches are on the docket all the time. And when I’m not watching tennis, I was learning how to string and knot pearls this past weekend. It’s slightly meditative once you get the hang of it. It’s an escape from the news.

When a friend told me she and her husband were in a Jewish Community Center yesterday when a bomb threat was phoned in, I didn’t realize it was one of many seemingly coordinated around the country. And I wondered if the Love Bug’s preschool was shut down again for the third time since Mr T’s inauguration. And a knot formed in my stomach, the kind that’s always there whenever I try to suppress an emotion.

I wonder how a president who shouts down an orthodox reporter and scolds him for asking  a complex question about anti-semitism, only to bring up his polling numbers again and again can possibly protect this nation and heal our divided people.

Here is my second attempt at knots, with pearls and lapis – a “so-called” selfie/portrait with Bean and an old gardening broom in the background. img_0119

 

It was almost midnight on Valentine’s Day. After two flights and running through Dallas International, Bob bought me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup at a gas station outside of Dulles. This is my absolute favorite candy, so nobody can say he isn’t a romantic! Bob isn’t the flower and heart-shaped box of bon bons kinda guy… still, this feminist never aspired to be treated like a queen, or a princess for that matter.

I thought about a lunch table conversation we had a few days earlier with the Love Bug. Her Dad, the Groom, was schooling her on the difference between “Real” and “Not Real.” She is only four, so I was thinking a little magic might be in order, but he was serious. Dinosaurs are tricky, since they were real, but aren’t around anymore. Of course monsters are definitely NOT real. And then we came to princesses.

The Groom explained about cartoons. I remarked that a certain guest at the wedding actually worked at Disney. The Love Bug brought up Pochahontas – which as we all know was really a Native American princess of sorts. And then the Bride chimed in with Princess Kate, so as much as this generation of parents would rather their daughters play sensibly with gender-neutral toys, sometimes little girls just have to be pretend princesses.

In fact, Aunt KiKi (aka Ms Cait) looked just like a princess on her wedding day last week.

In REAL news today, a princess in Spain will not be going to the tower, uh jail.

A Spanish court on Friday acquitted King Felipe VI’s sister, Princess Cristina, of charges that she helped her husband evade taxes, in a case that shamed the royal family. Her husband, however, Inaki Urdangarin, was given a jail sentence of six years and three months for siphoning off millions of euros between 2004 and 2006 from a foundation he headed in the island of Majorca.  https://uk.news.yahoo.com/verdict-due-spanish-royals-fraud-trial-041850122.html

It’s always hard to return to the Real World after a vacation. No more swimming in a warm pool, followed by a warmer hot tub. No more bocce ball. And since we had scheduled some tile work for this week, I am stuck at home. Trying to return to this time zone, doing laundry, catching up with myself. And yesterday I made the mistake of watching a “so-called” press conference.

To use a British term, I was gobsmacked! Mr T toyed with the press and our allies like that killer cougar, P-45 the King of Malibu, who is stalking the hills of LA. “The “P” comes from Puma concolor, the species whose common names include puma, panther, catamount, cougar, and mountain lion.” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/13/lions-of-los-angeles

You’ve seen how a house cat plays with a mouse I’m sure, just imagine this puma killing an alpaca. Mr T smiled and teased the reporters, threw out blatant lies, and pontificated to his heart’s content. He won’t tell us what he’s going to do with that Russian ship, he said with a gleam in his eye.

This cannot be real. Am I the only one frightened by his rhetoric, his stupidity, his apparent need for self-aggrandizement. We have a wild, uncontrollable, narcissistic president who would be king, and Princess Ivanka needs to school him, and tell him he has no clothes.

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Love is in the air. 

We’re coming home from California where the clouds touch the mountains. Where you can surf in the morning, and ski in the afternoon. 
The wedding was like a midsummer daydream. Ms Cait was the most stunning bride; she and the Rocker make an amazing couple. The Force is with them both!

How does one keep Love alive? You nurture your souls. You accept your flaws, you celebrate your success. You cook together. You sit silently sometimes and listen always. 

To keep Cupid hovering around you isn’t hard, but it does take a commitment.  These two have what it takes. 

I’ll love you both forever and always!

Traveling Tuesday

We don’t like to travel when everyone else does; we always took the kids out of school no matter what the school had to say about our travel plans. We’d pack up their work for the week and zoom, off we’d go. Sometimes they actually did the work! And since today is the Tuesday before the Rocker’s wedding, I’m sitting at a gate in Dallas airport waiting for my connection.

I told you I married an iconoclast right?

I’ve stopped twice to apply band-aids to my heels. We shared a chicken salad sandwich on the first flight. I texted the Bride and we just called Great Grandma Ada. 

The troops will arrive in waves. Nashville tomorrow, New Jersey on Thursday. Friday we’re throwing a “Groom’s Dinner” for all the friends and family. I told Bob to be prepared for tears. I know I will cry, mothers and sons are just made that way. He is my youngest, my “itchy bon number one son” as the Flapper used to say. My perpetual motion toddler – while looking at his baby pictures I realized he is being held in Every. Single. One. 

Because otherwise, he’d be gone by the time you pushed the button on your camera. 

All that time spent running, playing on the beach, playing the violin in order to receive his first Fender at the age of eight. Forming a heavy metal band in our garage in high school, and touring the world with the Parlor Mob. Other moms told me their kids were “finding themselves.” We always knew – his sense of self was never in question, he forged ahead and left us behind when he followed his dreams to LA. 

And his best decision was hitching his star to Ms Cait. They are in perfect orbit, forming a new constellation. I wish them a life full of art, love and beauty, music and blue skies. And when clouds appear, which they sometimes do in life, just laugh and outrun them. I’ll pick up some more band-aids.   

Feel Good Friday

OK, so we’re all getting plump on comfort food. We’ve participated in a peaceful demonstration or two, or three…we’ve made calls to the Hill asking that our already “Great” country stop pissing off the rest of the world. Too late, even the Terminator is tired of his tirades. What’s a girl to do?

Retail Therapy of course! I had lunch with Anita this week in the Heart of the Confederacy; which may be second in fervor only to my town, the Capital of the Resistance. And since a certain Rocker Wedding is coming up, I thought I’d do myself a favor and find a good concealer. You know that magical make-up tool that can take ten years off your life. I’ve tried every drug store variety to no avail; too raccoon-like, too cakey, too too.

Nordstrom is my cathedral of choice ever since I stepped foot into their San Francisco store with live piano music in the lobby (and it wasn’t Christmas). I met the Real Cher at the jewelry counter, it was really her in a cowgirl hat, and later found myself treated with dignity and respect by the shopgirls. Today, the Richmond Nordstrom lives up to its name, and has shopboys to boot.

The cosmetics section was hopping after lunch when Anita stopped for some creamy blush. That’s when it hit me, my total concealer fail. Here is my warning to all women of a certain age – NEVER sit down at the cosmetics counter in a fancy department store. Bobbie Brown had me at “Hi, my name is Judy, how can I help you?”

An hour and a half later I had an entirely new face and the smallest, most expensive grey Nordstrom bag stuffed with serums and elixirs and creams promising immortality. Honest. Oh and that thing I wanted, concealer, it was being mailed to me because they were out of it…that Judy could sell Finasteride to Mr T to grow hair…wait.

My therapy continued at the Verizon store where I purchased a new Iphone 7. Since Judy had wrangled all my contact information out of me, and I almost never give out my email, I was shocked to see all the buzz about Nordstrom in the news on my new cellphone. I finally remembered my Twitter Password when all these heart-felt apologies started scrolling down my palm.

“We’ve always said our buying decisions are guided by brand performance and based on that, we decided not to buy it this season.” 

That sounds strangely like “We decided not to renew his/her contract,” like “You’re Fired” in a nice, democratic tone. What was all the hubub about?

Ivanka Trump’s brand of course. Before I sat down at the Bobbie Brown counter, I had picked up a pair of Ivanka Trump shoes, and had a visceral feeling when I saw that name. Like my hand had been burned. I put them down immediately, and felt the blood rush to my cheeks. I knew enough not to buy Mr T’s wine, but hadn’t heard about this:

“The “Grab Your Wallet” campaign has now targeted more than 60 companies — a group that includes Trump’s golf courses and hotels, those that sell Trump-branded goods, and other businesses whose leaders endorsed Trump or donated to his campaign.”

Now this is a Buycott I can get behind. Thank you Nordstrom! https://grabyourwallet.org

Next week we’ll be headed to the desert for Ms Cait and the Rocker’s big day. Continually beading bracelets in shades of green has given me solace as well. African turquoise, jade, Dragonblood jasper and jade are spinning round and round in my hands, like Rosary beads that once offered redemption and courage.  img_0006

 

Busy Morning

The bitter cold is back, so I bundled up in my pink pussy hat and gloves. Today was our first day of action as a couple, and Bob and I wanted to stay warm in the wind chill of minus freezing. But first maybe I should back-up.

After the Women’s March on Washington, I was commiserating with Great Grandma Ada about the day. She really wanted to go, but I’m glad she didn’t. Being packed in like sardines for almost eight hours, in a wheelchair, would have been a bit much at 92. Or 82 even. So she listened to my excitement, then calmly told me what her book club was doing about Mr T’s agenda.

She had me Google “Indivisible,”and told me about this movement across the country to basically use the Tea Party’s strategies to further the Progressive agenda and stop Mr T at every turn. You know, the same way they stopped immigration reform in its tracks. This was way before Mr T instituted a Muslim Ban, or kicked the Joint Chiefs out  of the National Security briefings, plugging in his favorite conspiracy theorist, Steve Bannon.

You know the guy, the one who said “Islam is not a religion of peace, it’s a religion of submission.”

Well I submit to you, Bob and I liked what we saw on https://www.indivisibleguide.com so we downloaded the entire manifesto and printed it out. We also joined their Google group; and that’s how we found ourselves sitting in a packed church this past weekend. Bob turned to me and said, “Do I really have to be a revolutionary again?” I said, “Yes!”

Which brings me back to today. I wrote a letter to our GOP Representative, Tom Garrett, about not wanting Congress to throw out the ACA without fixing it, or replacing it. I told him how the Rocker’s old friend had been diagnosed with MS and had no health insurance. Obamacare saved his life. I told him that I knew how local government works, and that health care in this country should not be politicized. We joined a few hundred in front of Mr Garrett’s office, and I hand-delivered my letter to his secretary and spoke with his Outreach Director who declined to come outside..

Meanwhile the Mayor of Cville, Mike Signer, was holding a rally on the Downtown Mall against the latest Travel (Muslim) Ban. The Gold Star father, Mr Khizr Khan was there too, as were hundreds of people to protest the ban on seven primarily Muslim countries. It was a glorious, sunny day when the Mayor proclaimed Charlottesville, VA the “Capital of the Resistance!”

Bob and I just saw ourselves on the local TV news during dinner. I must say that was weird. But I’m proud of our city, the one once called Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village, and hopeful about the future. We have a real bully in the White House, and he poked the wrong bear.

ps – The Bride and her family marched in Nashville and they are planning on feeding a homeless shelter in April. The Rocker and Ms Cait are planning their wedding, and also visiting LAX. Thank you Grandma Ada, you raised us right.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/

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